segunda-feira, 29 de abril de 2024

The Spell of Sofia Beça Ceramic Artwork


While preparing a review for Terrart magazine (number 64, 1st semester 2024, Barcelona, p. 60-61), I have had the great pleasure of getting to know the work of Sofia Beça (Porto, 1972), one of the great ceramists of Portuguese lands, who is developing her activity, especially in the field of sculpture and murals made of fired clay.

Through the work of such a simple and humble material as clay -apparently only with her hands, but in reality -with her brain and heart, in unison- she is capable of recreating captivating spaces through the magic of her art -where the ceramic element- becomes the real protagonist, inviting the delight of all the senses. For, the contemplation of her works allows us to feel -caressing her pieces- perceive with the touch, the textures of the finishes chosen by the author herself, while visually she introduces you into the small world of plastic beauty -simply natural and human.

After a magnificent formative preparation in the specialty in the field of ceramics, at the Soares dos Reis School of Decorative Arts in her native city, in the late nineties and other specialization courses: Raku and especially sculpture and murals, under the mastery of great teachers such as Emidio Galassi and Acadio Blasco, the latter, considered by herself as her great master, she pursued her path that she had chosen by vocation, steadily with perseverance, tenacity and enthusiasm, tracing, thus, a career path based on fundamental principles that distinguish her for her talent and excellence in the results achieved. She is currently a member of the International Academy of Ceramics.

Since 1997 he has been exhibiting successively - individually and collectively. One of the first was at the Museum of Pottery of Barcelos, later exhibiting her works in several renowned galleries, which we mention below, as well as in museums dedicated to the ceramic theme in Portugal, Spain, the Netherlands, etc. Precisely because of her participation in other events, collectively - both in exhibitions, symposiums and international biennials, she has deserved the recognition of being one of the Portuguese ceramists with more international projection. Her work has been present in Japan, Argentina, France, South Korea. Austria, Tunisia, Egypt, Poland, Germany, Denmark, China, Latvia, Turkey, Greece, Italy, Slovenia, Russia, Hungary, ... even with commissions to beautify some public spaces, all over the planet.

She has been awarded a large number of prizes and recognitions, since 2002, especially in various competitions in the Iberian Peninsula, international ceramics competitions, etc., some of them shared with other artists.

In general, he delights us with a very careful work, technically impeccable, inspired by vital facts - intrinsically human activities - such as walking or wandering, following the earth as a common thread, not only for the raw material used, but also as his own idea - source of inspiration - from which emanate the slogans, meticulously chosen to make many of his works. In fact, all of them are linked to a theme that imbues them with meaning, in addition to giving them a life of their own that can be perceived by those who contemplate them with sensitivity and desire to contact with authentic art.

Selecting some examples, we refer to space, habitat, mountain, valley, path, garden, territory ... in fact the envelopes of the human being and its scenarios from its most remote origins.

Now, well, it is also inspired by feelings, such as falsehood, love, disillusionment, ... so intrinsic to human life itself.

Technically, he uses stoneware as raw material, which, once worked, is fired in a wood-fired oven. The designs, in general, of simple outline, always looking for a compositional rhythm that is reached harmonically as if it were a musical piece. In his works, the repetitions of elements are interspersed in a rhythmic and harmonious way, recreating geometries of blurred coloration. In this way, the chromaticism and tonalities are achieved by the action of fire, always, eagerly inquiring, rough textures, brittle roughness, similar to many of the geological formations, such as rock or sedimentary overlays, thus reproducing the sequencing of a stratigraphy.

Skill, mastery of technique and exquisite taste, essentially the result of approaches, ideas meticulously calibrated through a deep reflection on the human in our small planet, its weaknesses, but also showing how sublime a small work of ceramic art can be.

Margarida Genera i Monells

Prehistorian and archaeologist

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